When little Flynn arrived in the world just over a year ago, he was beautiful but his parents noticed something they couldn’t quite put their finger on.
A few hours later the doctor delivered them the unexpected news that Flynn has Down Syndrome.
“We were in shock,” said his mother Jessica Eedy. “We had not had any prenatal testing and had normal scans during my pregnancy.”
“With next to no knowledge of what Down Syndrome was, my initial concerns were about what this would mean for our life now and in the future, what kind of life he would have, and how it would affect our other son (4-year-old Hunter) having a brother with special needs.”
Down Syndrome is a condition that affects about one in 1,150 Australians and characteristics include physical features and intellectual disability.
Mrs Eedy, who works at Greenslopes Private Hospital for the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, wants to spread awareness and bust a few common myths for Down Syndrome Awareness Month during October.
Some misconceptions are that people with Down Syndrome:
- Will never become independent (in fact, many live on their own).
- Will never get a job (many do hold jobs, become models and even go to university).
- Are always happy (they actually feel all the same emotions as everyone else).
- Will not lead long lives (life expectancy is now well into the sixties and is expected to increase).
“Your baby will do everything others can do; it will just take them a bit longer,” said Mrs Eedy.
“I am by no means a super mum and you don’t have to be. I am just like any other mum doing the best I can to give my children the best in life, teach them between right and wrong and love them with every part of me.”
“There are challenges but the rewarding moments are so much sweeter because of the hard work Flynn puts in. He touches the hearts of so many and I couldn’t imagine life without him.”
The advice she would give to an expectant parent of a child with Down Syndrome is not to feel guilty about being sad, upset or scared.
“These feelings will pass. You will see that you have been given an amazing blessing. I often say Flynn did not come to me because he needed me. He came to me because I needed him,” said Mrs Eedy.
She is passionate about raising awareness, saying that she wants her son to live in a society that treats him the same as any other person; she wants him to be included and seen as a valuable member of society.